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Yellow Stone
1st Ntl. Park
1872- Grant signed an act to set aside the land to be protected
Majesty- Animals, trees, mountains, etc
Geysers (Y.S. is on a super volcano)
Old Faithful (20x/dy &120 ft) & the others
Joy is like a Geyser
Advent (The Coming)
Past, Present, Future of waiting for the Messiah
Because Christ has come to be God With Us, we can experience joy no matter what discouragement we may be going through.


Elizabeth and Mary: Mothers’ Joy(Lk. 1:5-56)

There’s a lot of joy throughout the biblical Christmas story, especially early in the story.
But it’s important to note that this joy isn’t separate from pain and disappointment.
Luke’s Christmas story begins a little earlier than Mary and Joseph and Jesus
with a prophet named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth.(Luke 1:5-7, NIV).
Zechariah and Elizabeth are old but have never been able to have children
That changes suddenly and miraculously
Gabriel shows up and tells Zechariah that his wife is going to have a son
so overwhelmed he can hardly believe this news and when he questions the news, the angel says, “OK, here’s your sign. You won’t be able to speak until the child is born.
Elizabeth is quicker to believe the news, and when she becomes pregnant
she says, “The Lord has done this for me…. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people” (Luke 1:25, NIV).
an odd note in the previous verse that tells us that Elizabeth went into seclusion/ 5mo
If we were watching the movie, “Meanwhile, in Galilee…”
When Elizabeth is six months pregnant, Gabriel makes another earthly appearance, this time to Mary.
delivering the most miraculous pregnancy announcement of all.
Mary received the news gracefully and willingly
Mary must have known that her challenges and disgrace were just about to begin.
The scorn and shame she would face—and her family and her fiancé as well—would be tremendous when it became obvious she was pregnant and unmarried.
How do you make people believe the baby in your womb is the messiah?
Even Joseph couldn’t believe this news at first
Maybe that’s why, as Luke tells us, Mary “hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea” (Luke 1:39, NIV).
This is where the joy erupts. Against the past backdrop of discouragement, disgrace, grief, and shame, the joy comes bursting through for these two mothers-to-be(Luke 1:41-45, NIV).
What a relief this must have been to Mary.
She didn’t have to explain herself.
She didn’t have to worry anymore about being understood.
All she had to do was say hello, and Elizabeth knew.
Even her developing baby knew and leaped within her. This was just the affirmation and encouragement Mary needed.
Her joy came bursting through as well, and she sang and praised and thanked God(Luke1:46-53)
There is much we can take away from this story, but I’d like to focus on three points that we can apply to our own experience with joy.

It’s OK to be joyful—and happy

For some of you, this is a no-brainer,
others of you, this might make you a little uncomfortable if you really think about it.
We’ve probably all heard joy described in contrast to happiness.
Happiness is fleeting and temporary/ joy is deeper and more fulfilling.
In actuality, the Bible doesn’t make any distinction between joy and happiness.
They are essentially different words for the same thing
They’ve been translated somewhat differently in our different English translations but the original Hebrew and Greek terms essentially interchangeable.
Look back at these two ladies
Both situations are full of pain, shame, and discomfort
Yet both are overjoyed at the coming/ outcoming

Joy is our strength

There’s a great example of this principle in the story of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:10)
Nehemiah was the Old Testament leader who got permission from King Artaxerxes to return from exile in Babylon and rebuild Jerusalem, starting with its walls.
The process was more than just a return to the physical city, it was a spiritual reawakening for the people.
In chapter eight of the book of Nehemiah, he brings all the people together and they bring out the Law of Moses and read it.
Nehemiah is calling the people to remember and return to their relationship with God.
As he does this, the people are weeping.
Maybe there are some tears of joy from some of the people who remember God’s words from years past, but most of them weep from sadness as they recognize their guilt and drifting from God.
Nehemiah 8:10
“Celebrate! Enjoy it!” Why?
Because this is a time for happiness that God has brought us back and is restoring our city and our hearts
because our source of strength is the very joy of the Lord.
It’s what fuels us and sustains us.
Our true source
happiness, joy, and fulfillment comes from Christ. Christmas is a season of joy because the Messiah has brought joy into the world ” (1 Peter 1:8-9, NIV).
The ladies both were strengthend because of the Joy of the Messiah

We can choose joy

There are a lot of uses of the word rejoice in the Bible.
It’s not a word that we use very often in our culture, but maybe we should.
Rejoice is the verb form of joy.
It’s the action of feeling or expressing joy and delight
the prefix re-, means once more, or again, or a return to.
So to rejoice is to return to joy.
It’s a choice and an action we can take to return to joy. I’d like to add that for us, it is a return to our source of joy; it’s a return to Jesus.
Look back at these two ladies
despite the shame, fear of the unknown, etc
they rejoiced over and over
That’s where the re- comes in.
That’s where we must return regularly, daily, constantly to Jesus, our source of joy.
It’s why rejoicing is our process of refueling our tank, restoring our strength, and renewing our spirits.(James 1:2-4, NIV).
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